Monday, November 28, 2016

Kindergarten Week 15

We traveled home from visiting family in Central California. This is Gemma "trainschooling" in the dining car. (This is also the only math lesson we did all week; I'm not counting reviewing all of our skip counting songs. We actually did more math on our Thanksgiving break than this week.)
Over Thanksgiving, Gemma mentioned John Henry. I'm not sure where she heard of him, but while we were at the library, I checked out Ezra Jack Keat's picture book about John Henry, as well as the Disney's American Legends DVD (with cartoons about John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and Casey Jones). Both are great. (I remembered watching - and loving - those Disney cartoons when I was little, so I was excited to share them with Gemma.)

Our afterschool co-op lesson was about birthday celebrations around the world. We sang Happy Birthday in several different languages, learned about how different cultures celebrate birthdays, and learned about the women who wrote the Happy Birthday song. Then the kids got to have sensory play with shaving foam and water beads to make birthday cakes. These are two of my favorite pictures...
The Tinker Group built a castle with a working drawbridge at the beach.
We went to a birthday party at the Santa Monica Airport's...
...observation deck...
The guests got to sit in a plane and pretend to be pilots.
Gemma reviewed her CC memory work, practiced piano daily ("Sing We Now of Christmas" is one of the new songs she's been working on), practiced the songs she's singing in the Christmas pageant at church, and went to dance class.
We did a Mad Lib...
One of our December traditions is going to see The Nutcracker. I'm not good at tradition-keeping, but this one is doable. Gemma said her favorite scene is the "scary part" when the mice come while Clara is sleeping on the couch.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Kindergarten Week 14

In Sunday School, the lesson was about rebuilding the temple, so we made "moon sand" to build a temple.
Gemma went to Classical Conversations and practiced her tin whistle.
My husband dropped off our Operation Christmas Child shoebox. Gemma picked out band-aids, Kleenex, a wash cloth, a brush, a comb, sharpened pencils, a pencil sharpener, markers, a pad of paper, ponytail holders, headbands, a bag that folds up, a pair of socks, a toothbrush, a plastic cup, a stuffed animal, and a card.
Our afterschool co-op had a Thanksgiving theme this week. The host-mom planned an amazing lesson about the first Thanksgiving. The children got to choose whether they wanted to be pilgrims or Native Americans. Gemma chose to be a Native American...
...which meant that I was also a Native American.
The pilgrims sailed this...
...and it landed on this...
The topic this month is "Foreign Languages," so Host-Mom J wrote a Native American symbol on each plate. Each child got to translate the message on his or her plate. This plate says "happy."
Host-Mom J made these "Thanksgiving-in-a-Roll" rolls by putting turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, and cranberry sauce inside a Pillsbury roll (yum!)...
...and served mini pumpkin pies.
We took the bus/train to visit our family for Thanksgiving. I downloaded some Storynory podcasts onto my phone (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) and Gemma read along with the audiobook.
We continued listening to episodes (chapters) throughout the week.

We also sang (daily) "Go Tell It On The Mountain," reviewed multiplication flash cards a few times, read a couple Life of Fred: Ice Cream chapters, reviewed (daily) this week's Classical Conversations memory work, and practiced piano (daily) on Grandma's keyboard.
Gemma bowled with Grandma...
Poppa took Gemma shopping for a couple of toys to donate to Toys for Tots. (In this photo, Poppa is saying, "I had nothing to do with Gemma's choices.")
Then he took her to the pond to feed the geese.
On Thanksgiving, we went to my husband's parents' house. Here is a picture of Ita (short for Abuelita) and Gemma gathering eggs...
Gemma had fun being outside with the chickens and raking.
We also went to my dad's house, but I was - again - too busy talking to remember to take pictures.

Gemma drew these elves building a snowman. She asked Grandma to draw the elf hats (in the air, because the elves are celebrating).

Finally - as is our tradition - the day after Christmas, we took Gemma to see Santa Claus.





Monday, November 14, 2016

Kindergarten Week 13

Here is some of what we did in kindergarten this week...

We went ice skating.
This is a picture of Gemma in the little rink, but she went into the big rink all by herself and skated around in the middle. It was terrifying to watch.

We listened to Maestro Classics' The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Swan Lake.
Gemma loves the little books that come with the Maestro Classics CDs. She was excited to share with me that a group of swans is called "a lamentation."

At Classical Conversations, the students discussed ultraviolet rays, and made these...
In Tinker Group, Gemma made a Pegasus mask...
She was still wearing it when I got home from work.

Some of the tinkerers made pegasus masks, and some made dragon masks. Then, while public school kindergarteners were sitting at desks writing numbers 1 to 100, Gemma and her fellow tinkerers got to run around the beach, playing make-believe.
We baked 6-ingredient chocolate chip cookies. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix 1 1/8 cups flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 stick of butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup chocolate chips. Scoop dough with a tablespoon (makes about 20 cookies), roll the dough into balls, and put on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. The recipe said 7 to 18 minutes depending on the oven. I left ours in for 16, but in the future, I'll take them out sooner. They got quite dark on the bottom, but they tasted good.

There was piano (daily), practicing for the Christmas pageant, dance class, afterschool co-op, Church Mice, Sunday School, so many books read, etc.

Gemma painted this...
We read the Usborne Illustrated Shakespeare version of A Midsummer Night's Dream over several nights, after Gemma had read it on her own one day, and was able to keep all of the characters straight!

Also, we reviewed multiplication flash cards, and read some Life of Fred: Ice Cream. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Kindergarten: Term 1 Review

Here is some of what we did our first trimester of kindergarten...

Math: Worked on multiplication, and long division without remainders. Used Life of Fred: Honey and Life of Fred: Ice Cream.

Music: Listened to some Maestro Classics CDs (Juanita, the Spanish Lobster and The Nutcracker), learned songs to sing in church, learned songs to play on piano and moved from Alfred Prep Level B to Level C.

Weekly: trips to the library, Church Mice, Sunday School, Classical Conversations, dance class, swim lessons (completed two rounds of Minnow-level lessons)

Made: a rubber band helicopter, a cork boat, a fort, a teepee, a loom, small and large catapults, a zippy race car (Circuit Madness kit), a pinball game, perfume, helped paint the Vidiots window

Went to: the Getty to see the Cave Temples of Dunhuang exhibit, the Fresno Fair (rode a camel!), apple picking at Riley's Farm, Underwood Farms, St. Luke's (medieval brass rubbings), Art Zone, church Harvest Festival

Nature: grew bean plants, watched painted lady caterpillars become butterflies and released them, observed a red backed jumping spider, climbed trees, saw a rainbow

Read books: Training Hearts, finished Little House in the Big Woods, started Little House on the Prairie, finished Prince Caspian, Good Queen Bess, etc.

Baked: an apple pie, sourdough bread (we tried), a gateau de semoule

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kindergarten Week 12

few things we did this week...

We went to Art Zone for friend S's birthday party. The guests made clay cupcakes.
Gemma began practicing for the Christmas pageant. She's saying she wants to be a sheep this year. The Cherubs are learning three songs: O Come Little Children, What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby, and Go Tell It On The Mountain.

We went to the library (which we do weekly).

Our afterschool co-op's lesson was on Ancient Greek and the myth of Perseus and Medusa. The host mom wrote everyone's name in Greek, and - naturally - the children made Medusa crowns. 
At home, I pulled out the D'Aulaires Greek Myths, and we reread the myth of Perseus.

We finished reading Prince Caspian! In one of the final scenes, there's a lovely part where Aslan asks Caspian if he's ready to be king, and Caspian asks how could he be ready? He's only a boy. Aslan tells Caspian that if he had said yes, it would have been a sure sign that he wasn't ready to be king. He wouldn't have had the humility necessary to lead.

We're on Question 12 in Training Hearts, and we're taking our time with it. The answer is quite long, and there are 13 Bible passages to look up. In using this book with a five year old, adaptations need to be made. Gemma is attentive as long as we're reading, but when we have to pause to look up verses, her attention wanes. Some days, there are as many as five Bible passages scheduled, which means that, if we were doing the book as written, we would have to pause five times. That's a lot of pausing. I could look up the verses ahead of time and mark them with post-it notes, but, by doing that, I would be losing a teaching opportunity. By looking up verses together, I'm modeling how to do so, which is a skill in itself. 

The Tinker Group spent a morning constructing with PVC pipes at the beach.

Gemma also went to dance class, Church Mice, Sunday School, and Classical Conversations, and did three Duolingo lessons.

At home, she built a "zippy race car" using a kit called "Circuit Madness."
(I don't recommend this kit. The "madness" part is that you need all sorts of items that aren't included in the kit, many of which you won't have, and you'll need to reengineer the projects to get them to do what they're supposed to do.) Gemma read the zippy race car directions and did all of the wiring herself. 
The project was a family affair. I cut the opening in the toilet paper tube. The way it's designed, the fork is just supposed to rest on the axle - yeah, right - so my husband added the tape to the axle to keep the fork centered. That helped a little, but I wasn't satisfied. I reengineered it by taking off the tape, sliding a straw over the axle, and taping the fork to the straw (not pictured). The car is by no means "zippy," but at least now it stays in one piece.

On piano, Gemma worked on a (level C) song called "Let it Pour," and we went back to a song in the Sacred B book that we'd skipped - "Wonderful Words of Life."

In math, Gemma did two more division riddles, practiced her multiplication flash cards, read some Life of Fred: Ice Cream, and practiced skip counting by 14s.

Skip counting by 14s is part of the Classical Conversations memory work. It's one of the more "controversial" items that children are supposed to memorize. Why learn the 14s, if you know the 1s and 4s? One answer is "Why not?" A second answer is because it promotes number sense. 

Number sense is Teacherese for "an understanding of numbers." In About Teaching Mathematics, Marilyn Burns writes that students with a strong number sense “can think and reason flexibly with numbers, use numbers to solve problems, spot unreasonable answers, understand how numbers can be taken apart and put together in different wayssee connections among operations, figure mentally, and make reasonable estimates.”

Learning to skip count by 14s is not about a child memorizing for memorization's sake, or so the child can boast, "Look at me, look at what I can do." It's about helping the child develop an organized mental framework for working with numbers.

Here is one of Gemma's division riddles:
Answer: Don't spook until you're spoken to, Frankenstein!

Gemma is enjoying our Maestro Classics CDs. This week, she's been on a Juanita the Spanish Lobster kick. I don't like that Juanita says "shut up," but she does so to show that she's rude, ungrateful, and unwise. Her actions lead to her almost getting eaten. There's definitely a moral to the story: Be the opposite of Juanita.

Gemma's getting her first adult tooth - which I am not ready for. The tooth is growing in behind her baby tooth, and her baby tooth wasn't loose. We went to the dentist for a consult. The dentist said that it's perfectly normal for adult teeth to grow in "lingually" (near the tongue). I mistakenly thought that an adult tooth growing under a baby tooth caused the baby tooth to become loose, but the dentist explained that the adult tooth re-absorbs the baby tooth's root, so there isn't any root holding the baby tooth in. That's the reason the tooth falls out.
The dentist used two hands to wiggle Gemma's two front bottom teeth (mandibular central incisors). They are indeed loose.
Her x-rays show that her second adult tooth will be erupting - lingually - any day. Her adult mandibular lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of the two front bottom teeth) were also visible on the x-ray, but those baby teeth still have roots, so it will be a while...